Sunday, May 23, 2010

Who Can Cure the Cowboys' Field Goal Woes?

by Aaron Novinger

One of the weakest positions on the Cowboys' 2009 squad was at placekicker. A bad case of the yips forced Dallas to say good-bye to former Pro Bowl kicker Nick Folk in December. And then the same ills affected his replacement, Shaun Suisham. The team neglected to re-sign him after the season's end.

The Browns recently waived former Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin and signed Suisham. Another kicker of name to come out of college this year was Texas' Hunter Lawrence, who signed with the Buccaneers after the draft.

Dallas had their chance to draft either one of those guys in April, but seems content with David Buehler. His progress has been steady, and he has been learning what he can from kicking coach Chris Boniol to be a more fundamentally sound placekicker.

Buehler described his own talent as "raw," since he didn't start kicking until his senior year in high school and didn't have a kicking coach at the University of Southern California. Even without individual instruction, Buehler was fairly successful at USC. He made 78.8 percent of his field goals during two seasons as a starter, and was an All-Pac 10 first-team choice in 2008.